Top 13 Work From Home Distractions and How You Can Regain Focus
By Jacky XuFeb 28, 2021
Working from home sounds like a dream. But there is more to bringing your laptop to the beach than that. In fact, you will need to be strategic if you want to stay motivated and productive while working remotely is difficult.
This includes identifying and eliminating distractions. After all, it is easy to blur the lines between work and house chores. Meaning, you can be designing social media graphics at one moment and cooking dinner at another.
This explains why many work-at-home employees are struggling with productivity despite its flexibility.
Whenever you find yourself in a slump and need of a productivity boost, here are 13 work-from-home distractions that you should eliminate:
1. Household Members
Living with other people is challenging, especially if you're working remotely.
It's even more challenging to have a dedicated space for working or share a common area. Others might interrupt you from your work, even by just talking to you.
Let's say you are a parent with young kids. It can be challenging to get things done if you have a family to take care of.
2. Noisy Environment
You might find it challenging to get things done in a noisy environment. However, if you're working from home, it can be challenging to avoid this. Household members, your neighbors, and appliances can produce disruptive noises which hamper your productivity. Although some of these things are unavoidable, you need to think of ways to deal with them.
One way to fix this is using headphones. Headphones are usually a great way to tune down the noise and a way to signal to team members that you're in focused work, and you couldn't be bothered.
3. Household Duties
When you're working from home, one of the main distractions is household duties that need to be done. If you don't have a designated workspace, then you'll quickly have dishes overflowing on the sink or laundry piling up that need to be folded. Sometimes, it can be challenging to find the urge to stop and do these tasks when you should be working.
4. Your Furry Friends
Although pets are considered as part of the family, they can also distract you from your work. But the more you focus on your pets during your workday, the more that you'll become more accustomed to it.
To prevent them from becoming a significant distraction during your workday, you need to instill good habits early on.
Usually, pets tend to be schedule-oriented. Once they get accustomed to a routine, it will prevent them from becoming a distraction.
Also, note that dogs require more attention than cats. You only need to provide them with food, a sunbeam, and a bed for the latter.
For dogs, please give them a Monday to Friday routine that they can look forward to. Just make sure that these are conducive to your work schedule.
Television is often the most dangerous work from home distraction because it's easy to get carried away and lose out on minutes or hours of work time.
Whether it's a series on Netflix, daytime soaps, or infomercials, watching television drains your productivity. The simplest way to overcome this is to turn off your TV.
If you want some background noise, opt to play some soft music instead or turn on the radio.
What if you have your family with you at home? If it's impossible to turn the TV off, invest in handy earphones instead to supplement the noise in the background with more ambient music.
This helps you stay relaxed and focused with your tasks at hand. As with all habits, avoid watching television in your workday can be best practiced with more consistency.
Although some clutter can stimulate creativity, having a messy workplace interrupts your ability to focus and process information.
This also impedes your ability to focus on the present. This makes you more anxious and stressed in the long run.
To fix this, try to keep your workplace clean and organized. Get rid of the things that you no longer need, and organize necessary paperwork. To decrease the number of filing cabinets, store some of your files on Cloud.
At Maid Sailors Maid Service NYC, we always tell our clients to see to it that you have a clean workspace every week. For example, cleaning every Friday afternoon is ideal since you've mentally clocked out of work already.
7. Smartphone and Other Devices
Smartphones are both a blessing and a curse. Although they've made us more connected than ever before, especially when we're on the go, it does have its downsides.
This mostly has to do with our brain chemistry. Checking your chat messages and social media feed tricks your brain to release dopamine, a feel-good chemical. This is how your brain rewards you for completing a task.
Nonetheless, the pleasure you get from dopamine is fleeting, which leads you to trigger dopamine more frequently. That's why there's always an urge to check our phones more regularly.
Smartphones can be a source of dopamine, usually flooding the brain with short bouts of pleasure.
In fact, apps and smartphones are designed to trigger this type of behavior.
But since we continuously use our smartphones to make business calls or stay connected with our colleagues, switching off your phone isn't always an option. Fortunately, you can turn off the notifications so that you can entirely focus on your work.
Checking emails frequently also impede your productivity in the long run.
Instead of checking your inbox frequently in a day, designate a time block wherein you can check your email. We also suggest practicing the Inbox Zero method.
To deal with this problem, you can start the day with a task requiring the highest amount of concentration. After you've made significant progress with your work, you can make a quick scan of your email for anything that requires your immediate attention.
If there's none, you can respond to emails at various times of the day. Chances are, most of these emails don't need your immediate attention.
Also, if someone wants to get a hold of you to answer questions, they'll usually find a way to.
9. Social Media
Social media is another type of distraction that a lot of people find hard to avoid. It's easy to get sucked in checking your feeds or engaging in these social media platforms because of your notifications.
Also, browsing during your breaks might take too long if you couldn't control yourself. This problem is relatively common, especially if you're using your mobile or computer.
Although eating while you work allows you to be more relaxed and generally happier, you also need to be careful. That's because error rates go up to 50 percent, and it takes twice as long for you to do things when you work while eating.
Nonetheless, taking a break to have some snacks is an effective way to reduce stress while working.
So, if you don't want to spend twice as much time working, you need to refrain from eating at your desk.
In the same way, it can be hard to focus on a task if you have a growling stomach. It can be challenging to avoid unhealthy foods like junk foods if your stomach is growling.
So, it would help if you stocked your workspace with healthier options, like fruits and nuts.
11. Personal Errands
By working at home, you'll have more time to do your errands. This is great because you'll have more time to do stuff you'll typically do on weekends.
However, if you're not too careful with managing your time, doing personal errands can take up a considerable chunk of the time you'll otherwise spend at work.
That's why it also helps that you properly schedule your day to get more work done.
12. Multiscreen Multitasking
Having numerous windows open on various devices is almost expected for a lot of people.
Achieving small goals gives people an illusion that they're doing something. But according to the Harvard Business Review, this can lower one's IQ and even kill productivity to up to 40%.
What about closing those other windows and just focusing on that one crucial task that needs to be done?
13. Wrong Room Temperature
If the room temperature is too cold, you'll have difficulty trying to get warm instead of focusing on the task.
Meanwhile, if it's too hot, then you might have difficulty staying awake. The best way to manage that is to find the right balance and keep it there.
The ideal temperature for maximum productivity is usually around 77 degrees Fahrenheit or 25 degrees Celsius.
There is no denying that working from home is like a double-edged sword. It offers you the flexibility of working wherever and whenever you want. But it also threatens your productivity. Hence, it is imperative to be aware when you are being distracted from work. Also, it would be vital to know how you can solve these distractions. Hopefully, the tips in these articles allow you to stay clear from these distractions. That way, you can reap the benefits of working from home.
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